The garden at Fydell House is a recreation of an early nineteenth-century garden with historic planting schemes and architectural details.
In recent years the garden has also developed as a small sculpture park.
NOTE The gardens at Fydell House are cared for by volunteers – help us by reporting any damage immediately. If you notice anyone breaking the plants and hedges tell one of the volunteers at Reception.
Right: a selection of drawings from 1994/95 when the recreation of the historic garden was being planned.
The History of Fydell House Garden
notes by Alison Fairman:
The garden of Fydell House predates the house by several centuries. Open and not hedged in, there were pastures going down to the Maud Foster Drain. They had been owned by the Corporation since 1554 and appear to have been horticultural land attached to St Mary’s Guildhall.
A plan of the present house is shown in a document of February 1707, when the Jacksons purchased what is now the rear garden from Boston Guildhall for £20. In February 1708, Mrs Jackson’s son Israel died and the house and garden were transferred to her favourite grandson Samuel Jackson. He sold the house in 1720 to Joseph Fydell, including the adjacent wine cellars (now the former Haven Gallery). Down spouts were stamped with his initials and the year of purchase, and the property named “Fydell House”.
Joseph Fydell had no interest in the house’s origins, and any documents in his possession were lost. On his death his nephew Richard bought the house from Joseph’s trustees. In 1739 he became an Alderman and Mayor of Boston (also in 1753 and 1776). In 1740 he married an heiress Elizabeth Hall and became a wine merchant. He leased the extensive Corporation land to the rear of Fydell House.
In 1762 the Witham Drainage Act was passed, to drain and enclose the common fen land west of Boston, with Richard as a senior Commissioner of the Witham Drainage Board. In 1769 he swapped land with the Corporation to buy the leased land to the rear of Fydell House. He died in 1780 and Thomas Fydell inherited the estates. From 1812 the house and grounds were leased to tenants.
Over the centuries the pastures were built over and the John Adams Way driven through the middle losing the views of the drain. In 1934 Canon Cook and John Sutcliffe raised support for a Boston Preservation Trust to save Fydell House from being demolished for an access road to a new housing estate and in July 1935 Boston Preservation Trust was incorporated. Fydell House was bought for £1,600 with 10% raised from subscriptions and the rest on mortgage.
The house became a centre of learning for several decades. However in the 1990s Lincolnshire County Council withdrew financial support and the trustees of the Trust had to decide what to do with the garden. Previously the County Council had mowed the lawns and kept the beds tidy, that was all. The Chairman of the Trust, John Cammack, knew this was an opportunity not a disaster, and designed “Mr Fydell’s Garden”, a recreation of a Georgian town garden. He decided to use yew buttresses and arbours, and make parterres using dutch themes. Yew and box were bought, and he and his wife spent many hours taking cuttings to increase the plants. With the connection with Joseph Banks, Recorder of Boston and a friend of Thos Fydell the Younger, Alison Fairman researched Australasian plants suitable for a walled garden. A grant was obtained from a foundation and money raised by Classic FM visiting and recording a show at Blackfriars. The garden was planted and has flourished to the day.
Volunteers now look after it and are always looking for help and plants in keeping with its history.